By David Swartz
After winning four straight Superior ratings the past four years, the Estherville Lincoln Central Marching Band stepped up its play in 2016.
Director Laura Giebler added an extra competition and increased the difficulty in music and motion.
The band members responded with their fifth Superior rating at the state competition in Fort Dodge this past Saturday.
“This was the longest show we’ve done and more challenging physically and mentally,” said Giebler.
ELC’s set is 9 minutes long.
Band members said their final number, “Urban”, proved to be the most difficult.
“The drum music is insane,” said snare drummer Logan Newhouse.
Giebler said the song is very challenging musically and features both the field percussion and pit percussion.
“It messes with the pulse,” said Giebler.
The band’s first competition was its newest one as the group traveled to Marshall, Minn., on Sept. 17.
“They run a sound festival,” said Giebler, adding that the event could be for either performance or exhibition. “We needed to give the kids an extra push as this is the earliest we’ve ever been ready to compete.”
She said the ELC band had just two and a half songs of its four songs ready for that competition and they stood for the final half of the third song.
ELC still earned second place in its class.
Band members enjoyed the trip and the opportunity to see different bands.
“I enjoyed watching the big bands,” said Cora Brant.
“I also enjoyed watching the bigger bands play,” said Rhiannon Alvarez.
Watching all the bands made for a long, but fun day, as they did not get back to Estherville until 2 a.m.
“It was interesting because it was new,” said Ruth Marth.
After Marshall, Minn., the ELC Band made its annual trip to the North Central Marching Band Invitational in Fort Dodge.
Rain forced the competition indoors to the Fort Dodge gym. ELC still earned second in its class.
Band members said they enjoyed the day while the directors-Giebler and Craig Began-disagreed.
On Oct. 1, it was on to the Algona Band Days where the ELC Band placed fourth in its class. Algona won with 75 points while Forest City was second with 71.5 points, Humboldt was third with 69 points and ELC had 68.1.
However, ELC’s color guard earned best overall with a score of 77.0 out of 100 points.
Senior color guard member Emma Christensen said every year is a challenge in learning the new routines.
Color guard members sophomore Brianna Fix and junior Domanique Richardson both said winning top color guard honors was the highlight of their year.
“Getting best overall color guard has been our goal for some time,” said Giebler. “We had some dedicated girls with four seniors for leadership. Betty Lou Jones and Becca Lair both had a well-designed routine. The group worked hard with their transition with the band. The group also used a variety of props. Besides flags, the color guard used hula-hoops and rifles.
The 2016 ELC Marching Band features 59 students with just seven seniors.
With so many returning next year, Giebler said the expectations would be high again.
“It’s always sad to see the seniors go,” she said. “Their leadership will leave some shoes to fill in certain sections.”